Sex Versus Gender • Sex is anatomical, biological, physical • muscle mass • body hair • genitalia • Gender is socially constructed • social roles • psychological factors • cultural norms • Communibiology (Beatty & McCroskey (2001) • Much of our communication behavior has a biological basis .
Is biology destiny? • Men are naturally more promiscuous, right? • When college students were approached by a member of the opposite sex who requested casual sex, males consented more than 50% of the time Clark & Hatfield, 2003) • Females rarely consented • But…
cheating statistics are mixed • 22% of married men have cheated compared to 15% of married women • 45-55% of married women and 50-60% of married men engage in extramarital sex at some time or another during their relationship. • Recent research: women are catching up (Parker-Pope, 2008)
Sex differences: real and imagined math scores for males in the U.S. are higher, on average, than females’ scores. • real biological differences between men and women exist • These differences affect communication. • Some academicians seem to be in “biological denial” (Andersen, 2008). • Political correctness may be at work. • Former Harvard President, Lawrence Sommers, sparked controversy when he claimed the shortage of women in math and sciences was partly due to “intrinsic aptitude.” Over time, men’s and women’s marathon times have converged
Gender and communication • Gender counts, but not very much • Across all studies that examine gender differences in communication, gender explains only about 5% of the variation in communication styles, tendencies (Canary & Hause, 1993; Dindia, 2006) • Individual differences far outweigh gender differences
Females’ nonverbal receptivity • In general, women are more perceptive than men • Videos, with no sound, of a man and women interacting were shown to female and male participants • Participants were asked to “code” or interpret the couple’s expressions. • Females were accurate 87% of the time, males were accurate 42% of the time
Nonverbal differences are a combination of nature and nurture • The nature of nurturing matters too. • Popular stereotypes suggest that women and men are completely different • Women are from Venus, Men are from Mars • Girls are made of “sugar, spice, everything nice,” Boys are made of “snips, snails, puppy dogs tails” • Popular stereotypes are exaggerated • Dindia (2006) “Women are from North Dakota, and men are from South Dakota.” • Women and men are more similar than different
Gender Stereotypes • Most gender based stereotypes are negative, and most are false. • A woman’s place is in the home • All men ever think about is sex • Sex Role Stereotypes: • Women are moody, temperamental, frivolous, submissive, emotional, irrational • Men are stubborn, arrogant, conceited, hard-headed
Gender Stereotypes • TV and Print Ads • the more TV one watches, the more one subscribes to sex stereotypes (Zemach & Cohen, 1986). • Print advertisements often depict women in submissive positions • Print ads often show only parts of women’s bodies, not the whole person.
Accentuating Sex Differences • Women shave their legs • Women wear lipstick, make-up • Women wear push up bras • Tap dancing, ballet lessons, jump rope, hopscotch • Men grow beards • Men build muscle mass • Men show off their biceps, abs • Boys don’t cry • Roughhousing is encouraged
Minimizing Sex Differences • Equal access to education • Career paths: • Less gender differentiation in career paths • Breadwinners: • Dual income earners • Stay at home Dads • Tomboys • Metrosexuals • Unisex clothing
Physical Attractiveness • “What is beautiful is good” stereotype • More emphasis is placed on females’ physical attractiveness than males • Feingold (1990) physical attractiveness is more important to men than women. • trophy wives • cosmetic surgery • beauty products • eating disorders • Why does physical attractiveness matter more to men than women? • Socio-biological explanation • Patriarchal society explanation
Personal Space (Proxemics) • American males have larger personal space “bubbles” than American females. • Female dyads tend to sit closer than male dyads • Females are more likely to shrink their personal space • By pulling in their bodies, condensing their use of space • Gender differences don’t necessarily apply to other cultures • Arab males often hold hands, kiss, walk arm in arm
Personal Space • Space violations: females are more likely to have their space violated than males. • Example: Airport waiting area • Example: video store; males are more likely to walk in front of females than vice versa
Encoding Skills • Women tend to express more emotion (facial displays) • Men are socialized to: • internalize their emotions • mask emotional displays • Study: males and females were shown various pictures designed to arouse emotions • Coders were significantly better at deciphering females’ facial expressions than males’
Encoding Skills • Women tend to • provide more eye contact • Use more active listening • adapt their communication style to the other person
Decoding Skills • Women are consistently better than men at decoding nonverbal meanings • They monitor facial displays of emotion more • They listen effectively (active listening) • The exception—deception detection
Smiling • Women tend to smile more than males • Smiling can convey warmth, immediacy • Smiling can also convey nervousness, submissiveness, embarrassment
Gestures • Can you think of any gestures (emblems) that one sex would be more likely to use than another? • Head tilt • Mock punch • Expansive gestures • Holding books over chest • Handbag barrier • Holding a cigarette • Adaptors (self touch behaviors) • Finger snapping • Knuckle popping • Crotch scratching • Hand over mouth • Hand covering bosom
Touch • Men initiate touch more than women in public settings • Bear hug • Headlock, noogie • Arm around another’s shoulder • Firm handshake • Comforting touch (females, touch on arm, forearm, hand) • Affectionate touch (females)
Posture • Differences while standing or sitting • Leg crossing (figure 4) • Cross legs and/or ankles • Relaxed posture • Elbows out, hands behind head • Feet on desk • Leaning back • Standing with legs apart • Standing with crossed legs • Sitting with legs underneath you
Walking • Differences in gait or stride • Males walk more upright • Men swagger • Females move more side to side • Women sashay • Women do the “runway” walk.